Last Updated: February 5th, 2021
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Arghhh!!!! When it will end?
I’ll stop today…will do more tomorrow…
I cannot continue anymore…This is too much…
I feel like a mouse stuck in a wheel….I’ll never do it again
Believe me, there is hope… 😉
Here are my tried and tested ways to make treadmill running fun…
How To make Running on A Treadmill Fun?
To make running on a treadmill fun, use any of the methods described below:
- Skip the ‘7’
- Count the number of people with a yellow shirt on tv
- Race with the song list
- Focus 5-speed play
- Run virtually together with a friend over video call
- Try to remind some funny situations that you were in this week
- Play with the buttons
- Mark the goal board
- Try an interval workout
- Try treadmill butt kicks
- Watch Netflix
- Challenge a fellow colleague
- Listen to a brand new playlist
- Do pushups and lunges
- Focus on the distance and not the time
- Try the Zombies, Run
I’ll describe each of the methods below so that you can implement them easily.
1. Skip the ‘7’
This game will provide you with ample distraction from your workout if you are feeling bored.
Using this method you will be able to focus your mental energy completely on this game and you will not realize how time flies.
This game I learned during my early days of my job and it used to get me through those boring meetings which I had no idea of what to do.
Later, I adapted this for the treadmill running and now I have got a new fun way of getting through the workout.
Here is what you need to do:
- Start counting from 1 to 100. You may select a bigger number also. But trust me, counting till 100 itself will be very challenging.
- Skip counting any number that ends with 7 and say ‘buzz’ instead. For example, you will count like this, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, buzz, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, buzz…so on and so forth.
- If you fail to reach 100, you will have to restart from 1.
This game will not only make your treadmill runs more fun, but will also make your memory sharper.
2. Count the number of people with a yellow shirt on tv
Another counting game…Yay!
For this, you will have to turn on your TV. You can do this while watching Netflix or Amazon Prime or anything that you like.
This game is simple and you can use any item of your choice other than a yellow shirt. This color works for me, so I’ll provide you with this example.
Here is what you need to do…
- Start watching your favorite TV show or anything of your choice…Choose something that you have already watched or anything that you may not otherwise watch. Since you will be focusing on the game, you will not be able to focus on something that you have been waiting for.
- Now, start counting the number of yellow shirts that you see in the show or it can be anything but the color needs to be yellow.
- Check how many of these you can spot before your workout is over…
- To up the challenge level, you can keep a mental count of two or three items…
Sounds promising, isn’t it?
3. Race with the song list
This method can be as challenging or as simple as you want it to be.
To implement this you would need a list of songs. Duh!
Choose something that is upbeat and fast…Here is how you can implement it…
- Run at a faster speed with every other song.
- Slow down once in the next song.
- Run continuously at the same speed for three or 5 complete songs.
- Change your speed for the next song group or the next song.
- Then repeat.
- Run till the end of your playlist from start.
- If you are not used to super long running time, choose a list according to your fitness level.
- You are not supposed to stop in the middle…
- Once you have exhausted your playlist, your treadmill workout is done.
4. Focus-5 Speed Play
And not role play… 😉
Couldn’t help it…
Well let’s get serious now…we are trying to do fun things on the treadmill…
This next method will make you act like a kid again…
You have a lot of speed buttons on the treadmill…what you need to do is play with all the buttons one at a time…
Note: You need to consider your fitness level while using this method…mellow it down to suit you…
Gradual Speed Increase
- Fire up the treadmill and run for 5 mins at one speed. Using a timer for this will help you to be accurate if that is your thing. I like it to be more fluid…a.k.a…am lazy…
- Once the timer is over increase your speed a bit and run for another 5 min…
- Keep increasing your speed until you have reached your workout time limit…(Don’t be too aggressive with the speed increase)
- Cool down for 5-10 mins and you are good to go…
Random Speed Increase
If you like an unstructured way of living, then you will love this…
- Every 5 mins, set the treadmill speed to a different level. Try to be as random as possible.
- Once you reach your time limit cool down…
Stacking up the ladder
This may be one of the commonest ways to implement this focus-5.
- Every 5 min, increase your speed. Do this, till you reach the half time of your workout schedule.
- Then start reducing the speed, every 5 mins till the end of your workout…
Ocean-Wave speed play
This is the same as the previous one, but here you will do three sets for these.
- To implement this, first, divide your workout time into 3 equal parts.
- Let’s say you work out for 30 mins…then it will be 10 mins of three slots.
- Now, you cannot implement a 5 min ladder with this slot, so change it to focus-2 or change your speed every 2 min or 1 min and follow the above-mentioned process.
- Repeat it for the remaining slots.
5. Run with a virtual trainer
If you do not love to have a coach around but don’t want to pay for the top dollar, you can always go for a virtual trainer.
Some of the treadmills like NordicTrack 1750 comes with iFit enabled touchscreen and you can train with a virtual trainer.
Having a virtual trainer frees you from the responsibility of adjusting your incline and speed as the trainer takes control of that.
What you need to do is just finish the workout…This will break the monotonous workout routine and will allow you to have more fun.
Also, there are some cool running apps out there…Some of them I personally liked are:
6. Run virtually together with a friend over a video call
We human beings are social beings…and this social distancing is killing us in more than one way…
We are getting devoid of simple pleasures like running with a group of friends or throwing up some challenges to them…
Honestly, without them, running has lost its charm a bit…
So, here is what you can as a boredom buster for your next treadmill run…
- Call up a running buddy of yours and start a challenge…
- The challenge can be anything like maximum distance or maximum time or anything else that you can think of…
- You can even up the game with some virtual awards…
- Since you will be doing it over a video call, it will be very engaging and refreshing for both you and your friend…and so much fun.
- You can even do this with multiple buddies of yours…
7. Try to remember the funny situations of the week
These situations can occur everywhere…For example, I ate all my sister’s cookies (not healthy..by the way…but too much fun) and packed the box neatly in the cupboard. Later she was furious and cursed me all day for it…
- So you try to remember all the funny things that you did or you were in this week while running on the treadmill.
- This will take your mind away from the workout and will make you smile even…
8. Play with the buttons of your treadmill
Remember when you were kids?
You used to press all the buttons you can get your hands on…
This time also, you will do the same…
- Check all the speed and incline buttons you have on your treadmill.
- Press them randomly at regular or complete random intervals.
- Experiment with speed or incline or both…
- However, a word of caution, don’t overdo it and push your body not too much.
9. Mark the goal board
This is probably the most visual and involved entertainment during treadmill running.
It will need a bit of preparation and if you already have a fixed running schedule, then implementing it will be a piece of cake…
- Divide your day’s treadmill schedule into mini-goals.
- Write them down on a piece of paper…
- Now start your workout…
- Every time you achieve a mini-goal, you will mark it as complete…or with a tick mark…
- This will motivate you to achieve the next goal…
- And once your workout is complete and you have burned through all your goals, you will be flooded with a sense of accomplishment.
10. Try an interval workout
Mixing up your runs with different kinds of running training can help you escape that treadmill boredom.
Essentially what you will be doing here is training different kinds of intervals.
You can set up interval training on your treadmill and then follow along. You can do different types of setups like running intensively for 5 mins and then running at an easy pack for 2 min, then again run at a higher level, and then slow down.
This plan will work for both beginners and any other level of runners. You just need to adjust the intensity and time according to your preference.
Yes, nowadays most of the treadmills come with pre-programmed workouts. You can try out different types of running like trails, and hills, and many more. You can even train with your heart rate and adjust the treadmill to keep you in a specific heart rate zone.
Also, you can go for a structured approach or a completely random one. I don’t like too much randomness in my routine and so I love to stick to the more boring schedules. You on the other hand can choose a complete random training structure to amp up the fun-level.
You can try fartlek workouts if you want to incorporate some speed work into your treadmill session. This will help you run at a faster pace at random intervals. You can combine it with songs or persons.
For example, you will run faster when a song from a particular singer plays or if a particular person shows up on TV. The more random the choices, the better the speed-work will be.
11. Try treadmill butt-kicks
If you are trying this out, then make sure that you do this at a low speed. Otherwise, you may get imbalanced and fall off the treadmill.
- Start the treadmill at 3mph and don’t go above 5mph.
- Shift your focus to your butt cheeks.
- Now fold one leg up quickly to touch the butt-cheeks.
- Follow this with the other leg. You are not trying to reach back, you are lifting your legs straight up from the knees.
- Do this for a min and take a break. You can adjust the timings based on your fitness level.
12. Watch Netflix
Ah! this must be the tip that you have been waiting for. But not so fast.
You can binge-watch Netflix until the workout is over.
You can combine it with the above methods of interval training or butt-kicks to make it more effective.
This is what you can do…
- Start the show you want to watch and start running on the treadmill.
- After 5-10 mins set the speed of your Netflix show to 1.5x and increase your treadmill speed by a similar amount.
- After 5-10 mins reduce the speed of the Netflix show and return back to your earlier running speed.
- Do this a couple of times and then try some butt-kicks.
- Increase the speed of the show and slow down your treadmill as mentioned in the above section.
- Now do 20 rounds of butt kicks…Once done reduce the speed of the Netflix show.
- Repeat 2-3 times.
13. Challenge a fellow colleague
This tactic may even earn one or two extra brownie points with your boss as you will be showing some great initiative to keep your team engaged during these tough times.
You can do this challenge with a colleague or with a group of colleagues.
This is what you need to do:
- Create a new group on a platform of your choice.
- Invite your colleagues to the group.
- Select a 30-day treadmill challenge.
- Explain to them the challenge and what is the winning criteria.
- Then start the challenge formally and enjoy the ride. 🙂
14. Listen to a brand new playlist
If you are too bored with running and looking for fun things to do on a treadmill, giving a brand new playlist a shot may be ideal.
You can create your own playlist or you can go for a pre-built playlist available.
Some of the songs that you may use are:
- Roar – Katty Perry (My all-time favorite)
- Till I Collapse – Eminem, Nate Dogg
- Dance Monkey – Tomes and I
- La Romana – Bad Bunny, El Alfa
- Purple Hat – Sofi Tukker
- Right Now – Van Halen
- Don’t Stop Believin – Journey
- Savage Remix – Megan Thee Stallion and Beyonce
- What’s My Age Again? – Blink-182
- Pump It Up – Elvis Costello
- Start me up – The Rolling Stones
- Good as Hell – Lizzo
- Love Myself – Hailee Steinfeld
- The Runner – Foals
- Physical – Dua Lipa
- Party In The USA – Miley Cyrus
- Just Dance – Lady Gaga
- Pon De Replay – Rihanna
Roar and Pon De Replay are on top of my list. I can listen to them endlessly in a loop throughout the day. If you have not listened to them, you have to at least once…
15. Do pushups and lunges
No, not on the treadmill…You will fall…
What you can do is, spread an exercise mat next to your treadmill.
After running for 10 mins on the treadmill, just hop-off it and do 10 rounds of pushup and lunges on the mat.
Again hop on the treadmill and run for another 10 mins.
Repeat till the end of your workout session.
What you are doing is, you are trying to add some variations to your normal routine. Also, your body is getting used to a new form of workout.
This will improve its functional fitness and you will not be solely focused on running.
16. Focus on distance and not time
This is probably, one of the oldest tricks to break the treadmill monotony. We get too much impatient when we watch time.
Imagine when you wait for someone and watch the clock like a hawk. The time seems to pass like a snail.
No matter what you do, it seems like the hands of the watch are not moving. This is the same when you are waiting for your workout to get over.
Also, you don’t focus on the length of distance that you planned to run for.
Instead, you do this:
- Break up the entire distance, in small chunks.
- Focus on completing each chunk. This way, you will feel that the workout is moving faster and you will be done in no time.
17. Try the Zombies, Run
If none of the above methods are entertaining you enough, or you want something that will give you more adrenaline rush, try to run with the zombies.
Zombies, Run is one of the best running apps where you will have to participate in a video game and run away from the zombies.
You are the protagonist here and you have to build your base and have important supplies like medicine, ammunition, etc.
All these you will have to do while surviving from the zombies. This game work both for outside and treadmill running.
Also, a word of caution, if you are playing this game while running on a treadmill, reduce the speed. This game is too addictive and will distract you completely. If you are too distracted while running at speed, you may get off balance and fall off.
So, just be mindful, when using this app.
Some more interesting ways to enjoy your treadmill run
Want to enjoy your treadmill run more?
Here are some more interesting ways. I’ll not describe them as I did above as they are similar to above but with some minor twists. You will be able to get creative with these.
- Watching a game and sprint when the players sprint.
- Listen to some interesting podcast while your leg does all the work.
- Concentrate more on the outside of the window than on the run, provided your treadmill is beside a window.
- Watch the people working out in front of you, if you are in a gym.
- Use some entertaining running apps like Minion Rush or Angry Gran Run. They are similar to Zombies, Run, but with some variations. Would be great to mix them up.
- Hide the timer with the tower.
- Use a trail app to pretend you are running in the woods.
- Practice running meditation.
Why use a treadmill at all?
The treadmill can be an excellent way to get your running miles in, even if the weather outside is bad.
Here are some of the reasons that you should use the treadmill sometimes:
When the weather is bad outside or it is too dark to run safely, it is better to hit a treadmill.
This will help you to avoid any possible injury
Keeping the Workout rhythm:
If you cannot run safely outside due to weather conditions or anything, then it is always better to run on a treadmill.
This way you will not be missing out on any of your workout routines if you are working with a particular schedule
If you don’t have any hills in your neighborhood, then treadmills can help you to get trained with that as well
You can increase the incline to the desired level and you are good to go
Less chance of injury:
The belt of the treadmill is more accommodating than the hard pavement. It reduces the overall impact on your body and is easy on your body.
This is very beneficial for people with a back problem.
Running on a treadmill has its own advantages, but I agree that it can be hellishly boring.
But it need not be. You just have to be a little creative and make it fun.
If you cannot think of any way to make it interesting, then you can always refer back to my “How To make Running on A Treadmill Fun?” article
Now go, have fun.
Blogger and a fitness enthusiast. She loves running and Yoga and everything in between. She started running to manage her weight and to eat to her heart’s content. A true foodie at heart she shares whatever knowledge she has gained throughout the years about weight management and fitness.
Sinclair, Jonathan, et al. “Three-dimensional kinematic comparison of treadmill and overground running.” Sports Biomechanics 12.3 (2013): 272-282.